Stamped from the Beginning

In collaboration with Roanoke Public Libraries builds, the Stamped from the Beginning book club builds around the Summer with the National Book Award event Indecent Histories, held on August 29th at the new Melrose Branch Library, featuring Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and Justin Phillip Read.


Historian Ibram X. Kendi was the youngest author to win the National Book Award for nonfiction for his book Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, (Bold Type Books, 2017). The book was a Washington Post and Boston Globe Best Book of the Year, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, and the NAACP Image Award Finalist for Outstanding Literary Work, Nonfiction. The history runs from fifteenth-century Europe into the twenty-first century in five sections, each with a “tour guide” of thought of their era. Kendi is a professor of history and international relations at American University.

Paired with Kendi for the event was Justin Phillip Reed. The poet and essayist is originally from South Carolina, and now lives in St. Louis. He won the award in 2018 for his poetry collection, Indecency (Coffee House Press, 2018).

To continue the conversation, join the Stamped from the Beginning Book Club, a six-week community read of the history of racist ideas. Each session will include a short talk by a local leader and thinker followed by small group conversation about the book. More detail coming soon, but save your TUESDAY evenings between October 22 and early December.